Funding Assists Law Enforcement Agencies in Reducing Untested Rape Kits in Maryland

News Release, Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, & Victim Services

Baltimore, MD- The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services today announced $1.8 million in awards for the Sexual Assault Kit Testing Grant Program (SAKT). The grant program, signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan in May, made up to $3.5 million available to Maryland State Police and local law enforcement agencies to pay for the testing of sexual assault evidence collection kits, collected since
May 1, 2018. Grants will be awarded to:

  • Baltimore County Police Department: $407,340
  • Montgomery County Police Department: $549,709
  • Prince George’s County Police Department: $196,421
  • Maryland State Police: $669,661

The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services completely funded proposals that fell within the scope of the Notice of Funding Availability. The funds may be used to fund testing performed by forensic laboratories, as well as personnel, program supplies, and equipment related to testing of sexual assault kits.

“We are eager to get this funding into the hands of law enforcement agencies working to bring perpetrators of sexual assault to justice,” said Glenn Fueston, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services. “Fully funding initiatives by these agencies is a positive step toward securing answers for victims, restoring their sense of safety, and taking criminals off the street before they have a chance to prey on others.”

Law enforcement agencies receiving this grant projected that they would test more than 400 untested sexual assault kits and are able to purchase equipment to increase capacity and reduce the time for testing.  Maryland State Police provides testing for sexual assault kits related to investigations by other law enforcement agencies in Maryland that do not have their own Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) operations.

Governor Hogan named testing of sexual assault kits a public safety priority, with the state funds coming from the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services’ FY 2020 budget.

Grantees will be required to track, measure, and report the outcomes and outputs of the grant award quarterly. Additionally, all grantees will be required to submit a fiscal year-end report that reflects the work and progress made through the use of SAKT funds. These accountability measures aim to fulfill the governor’s charge for both fiscal accountability and funding evidence-based programs.

The State of Maryland received a national Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance in September 2018. This grant supported, in part, testing of sexual assault kits collected before May 1, 2018. Those funds were made available to address the more than 6,000 sexual assault evidence kits in the state, identified by the SAEK Committee, that had not been submitted for testing.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...